interbiznet: The Recruiting News

The Recruiting News

Please Click On Our Sponsors

Please Click On Our Sponsors

Recruiting News for the Human Resource Professional

Please Click On Our Sponsors

Please Click On Our Sponsors

Please Click On Our Sponsors

Please Click On Our Sponsors




Click On Our Sponsors

Click On Our Sponsors







Find out more
About IBN

Got a news tip?
Jean Collins

Our Rate Card



Trends Reports



(Over 60)

Company Job Listings
(Over 4000)

Email to IBN


It is better
to not be on
the web than
to be on and
not know why

John Sumser

is more
it seems.
John Gall

It's better to
do a few things
really well than
than to do
a lot of things
If you can't
make the necessary
commitments of
time and energy
to your
scale back
your plan.
John Sumser

© 2013 interbiznet.
All Rights Reserved.

Materials written
by John Sumser
© TwoColorHat.
All Rights Reserved.

Go Home

Click On Our Sponsors

Daily News. Archived Weekly. Click Here For The Current Issue.

The Electronic Recruiting News is a Free Daily Newsletter For Recruiters, HR Managers, Advertising Agencies and Clasified Advertising Operations

Home | ERN | Bugler | The Blogs | Blogroll | Advertise | Archives | Careers
Stop Whining
(February 25, 2000) Marketing people are supposed to be smart. We've been corresponding with a number of them recently. All of them voice the same tired complaint: the press and analysts don't understand how valuable we really are. It really exposes the complete lack of sophistication in this supposedly intelligent group.

The following blurb is a snippet from our correspondence with one of the brighter members of the marketing universe. You might want to send a copy to your marketing team.

When we help companies with their marketing, we usually focus on the fact that a public company has a number of audiences who need distinctly different messages. Hot Jobs has great stock performance because they understand how to work the analysts. Good market valuation allows them to fund advertising and projects that they otherwise couldn't afford. Customer satisfaction isn't second to them, it's equal. Without decent market valuation, they can't plan to satisfy their customers over the long haul.

We think that approach is an order of magnitude more sophisticated than the one you've articulated. Again, we suggest that you are articulating a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you describe "a lack of insight by many of the journalists and analysts who are covering this suddenly topical industry", you are describing a marketing failure. Are they supposed to learn all about your view of the world without your active intervention?

The audiences that the marketing department serves are:

  • Paying customers
  • Journalists
  • Market Analysts
  • Job Hunters
  • Investors
  • Company Employees
It really is the job of the marketing department to make each of these constituent groups successful in their own terms. In other words, it's not good enough to broadcast a single message. We (and all other journalists/analysts in the space) get buried in useless PR. It always tells one side of the story and focuses on minutia that is only interesting to the company who sends the release. The winners do it differently.

They imagine that each of the groups are 'customers' who depend on the company for success. As the company delivers on that promise, its 'stock' (as a brand or a tradable commodity) rises.

If people are failing to see the value you offer, perhaps you aren't taking responsibility for the success of your communications. Being a 'victim' is not good marketing. Being completely responsible for the company's image, while harder to sleep with, is the job of the marketing team.

We are reasonably sure that our last bit of advice will completely irritate you. We'd urge you to consider it carefully. Although we don't expect it (and that may explain your difficulties), you may well thank us for this in the future.

Here we go:

Stop whining. What you see in the press is a reflection of your approach. You are causing the problem you are complaining about.

- John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

Generation II (From the Vault)
(February 24, 2000) Slowly, slowly, it's coming. Given the swollen valuations and spare capacity in customer budgets, we're hoping to see the emergence of real next generation systems over the coming 18 months. As the distinctions between services diminish, the need for differentiation grows.

Part of the problem is a seeming inability for major partnerships to grow and flourish in the industry. As operations like RecruitUSA take the customer mantle (by providing ad distribution and single invoice billing), the job boards are left to distinguish themselves in a tightening noose. Increasingly, a database and a matching system are not enough to enable one to see differing brand identities. While we see the potential for hundreds of horizontal and vertical relationships, they never seem to gain traction.

Part of the problem is price point. While an average $150/posting price tag makes a useful sales tool, it builds businesses that can not afford the kind of research that allows them to break out of the box. Without a real breakthrough, we're doomed to a perpetual reinvention of the unemployment office.

At the same time, a part of the problem is an extraordinary overemphasis on technology. At its simplest, a conventional job board is a simple to execute application (that's why there are so many of them). However, it seems like the core entrepreneurs are busy refining technical nuances at the expense of a real approach to market positioning.

Additionally, brand segmentation, a relatively well understood discipline, seems to be lost on the industry's major players. Instead of building the capacity within their organizations (see the week's earlier articles), agencies from outside the industry (with no sense of our customers and products) are producing cute but ineffective campaigns that bravely echo Microsoft's intentionally bland campaigns. Microsoft needs to be bland, scrappy companies need to be clear.

We think the shocker will be when players who aren't currently visible move in with networks and traffic that shame the current round of industry leaders. We're often reminded of the early days of the Personal Computer industry. The clear leaders were a company called Ashton-Tate and Lotus. By the end of the second generation the companies had lost their edge. By the end of the fourth generation, they were gone. In those days, no one had ever heard of any of the current market leaders. (At that time, Microsoft was still a footnote!).

The first generation of PC software was exciting to those of us who used it. In spite of its clunkiness, it was better than anything that had come before. Unfortunately, market leadership ruined the success of the market leaders. That irony has been played out over and over in a broad range of industries and settings.

The Gen II systems will not feel huge. Remember that the now defunct National Business Employment Weekly was extremely profitable and influential with a core audience of 30,000 (not millions). Recruiting, in our opinion, happens on that scale. With a clear focused audience, personalization is possible in extraordinary ways. We're betting on the emergence of operations that can deliver an intelligent personalization product at a price point that will sustain small, focused niche audiences. While we haven't seen it yet, we know it's out there.

- John Sumser, © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

Listen To The Music

(February 23, 2000) We slogged through the 2000 Electronic Recruiting Index without the aid of high speed lines. The idea, searching through thousands of job boards at telephone line speeds, was to simulate the experience of most users. To celebrate the completion of the book, we installed very high speed lines for everyone in the company. The web is a different place when urls open instantaneously. When software upgrades install on a click, plug-ins open immediately and multimedia presentations execute as fast as web pages used to, things change.

We've become overnight bandwidth hogs.

While we haven't looked at the statistics in depth (only a couple million residences have high-speed connections), DSL and/or cable modems will lift performance and expectations to even higher levels. As far as we can tell, high speed service is available all around the country. It's just a question of ordering it and having the line installed.(Two services which are definitely NOT high-speed - Ed.) We're betting that high speed internet connections will be the norm in a year or so.

It gives us the opportunity to look closely at things we might have missed. For instance, has a fairly cool advertising campaign these days. The bits and pieces are displayed in a single page that includes a video clip and snippets of their jingles. Our favorite... The print ad showing why late Friday night work hours might make you want a new job.

Interestingly, our office is suffering from the change.

As "dot com workers" we are all used to multi-tasking driven by web response times. Click on a URL, do something else while waiting, read the page, click, do something else and so on. With the new higher performance tools, it's click and read. It takes a little getting used to.

- John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

Jobs For Cranky Managers (From the Vault)

(February 22, 2000) A recent article by an online stock analyst suggests that an industry consolidation is near at hand. We're always tickled by the persistence of the industrial mindset. It's a mass customization and personalization business without any standardizable components, we say.

Although the buzz has shifted and people are talking about "cultural fit", the underlying perception remains the same. With the right formula, a single entity (you name it, company, market, industry, job board) can devise a one size fits all strategy and corner the market. We believe the more likely answer is a universe of nichey entities who simultaneously compete and collaborate with each other.

Here is our simple test case.

Any sophisticated businessperson understands the occasional importance of the "very cranky managers who know how to get things done". You know the type. They restructure ailing firms; manage operations as a representative of the Venture Capital company; kick life into failing projects; make impossible deadlines happen; and so on. Never popularity contest winners, these specialists do not fit in any sort of cultural map. By definition, they work best when they are the opposite of the prevailing culture. They understand that their future includes getting fired once the problem is solved.

Known for a lack of finesse and the ability to wield a club with precision, these executives rarely have long term relationships with their clients. The mercenary nature of their profession makes long term relationships a bit hard to muster. As a result, collaboration amongst peers is unusual. A few executive search firms have a modest practice in the arena. No one offers schooling or professional development for these turnaround artists.

A board that specialized in meeting the needs of these focused problem solvers would be a high profit, high value, easy to protect franchise. Imagine or . Discussion of "war stories" (dumbest culture I ever fixed, sappiest CEO I ever replaced), on the ground tactics (how to fire the CEO's wife), organizational politics and ruthless budget slashing would be enough to make the operation a winner.

The same principle applies to other specialties. The web, we think, resists consolidation in spite of the typical analyst's desire to predict it.

- John Sumser, © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

© 2013 interbiznet.
All Rights Reserved.

Materials written
by John Sumser
© TwoColorHat.
All Rights Reserved.

Mill Valley, CA 94941
415.377.2255 (V) 415.380.8245 (F)
Send comments to
interbiznet this week
(thru February 27, 2000)
1st Steps In The Job Hunt      - Competitive Bids
     - Selection & Rejection
     - IT Jobs
     - Temp Tips


  • 2003 Trends Whitepaper

  • interbiznet Bookclub

  • interbiznet Listings

  • interbiznet Trends

         - Bugler
           Daily Industry News

         - ERNIE
           ERN in Email


  • BlogRoll
  • Integrated Employment
          Branding Presentation
  • Trends Whitepaper
  • interbiznet Listings
  • interbiznet Trends
  • interbiznet Bookclub
  • Top 100 E-Recruiters
  • Presentations
         - Recruiting Then/Now
  • Recruiter's Toolkit
  • Seminar In A Box
  • ERN Archives
  • 1st Steps In The Hunt


  • Our Rate Card
  • Demographics


  • BlogRoll
    Last Week's ERN

    February 20, 2000
  • Symptoms of the Change
  • Synchronicity
  • Look at the Market
  • Sticker Shock
  • Gotta Get Smarter

    ERN Archives

    Stocks We Watch
    Public Companies in
    Electronic Recruiting

    Central Newspapers
    Dow Jones
    General Electric

    Knight Ridder
    New York Times
    Restrac (Web Hire)
    Student Advantage
    Top Jobs On The Net
    US Search Co
    Washington Post

    Pending IPOs

    - None

    Public Staffing Cos

    AHL Services
    Alternative Resources
    American Consolidated
    Analysts Int'l
    Career Horizons
    Computer Horizons
    Computer Task Grp
    Consolidated Tech Grp
    Data Processing Resources
    Employee Solutions
    General Employment
    GTS Duratek
    Hall Kinion
    IT Staffing
    Kelly Services
    National Technical
    National TechTeam
    On Assignment
    Outsource Int'l
    Right Management
    Robert Half
    SOS Staffing
    Staff Builders
    Western Staff
    Winston Resources
    Work Int'l